Just Write

Get past ego to connect

“I think American society alienates us from ourselves, and we have a great need to reconnect. Human beings yearn to connect and to tell our stories before we die. Sometimes we want to write, but when we get down to it, there’s resistance, because the ego gets scared.” — Natalie Goldberg in an interview with Genie Zeiger, “Keep The Hand Moving,” The Sun November 2003. Ideas on how to get past ego and Just Write The Inner Critic Tar Pit of Doom and Despair Is “Go Big or Go Home” Right for You? Rachel Macy Stafford: Live Love Now #amwriting #creativewriting #justwrite #freewrites

Book Reviews

Anxious People

“Anxious People” by the gifted Frederik Backman is the most brilliant novel I have read. I wasn’t drawn in right away. I am really glad I kept reading. This book is so extraordinary, when I finished, I had to read it again to see how Backman pulled it off. I highly recommend “Anxious People.” The humor is subtle, the characters are multi-layered, and the plot seems simple. But, as details are revealed, it is clearly a book about the complexities of relationships and how we navigate the crevices of life. I cannot use enough superlatives to describe the cleverly written “Anxious People.” Note: Some people did not like this book. I think you have to read at least to page 34 to decide yay or nay to “Anxious People,” by Fredrik Backman. Review by Marlene Cullen. #amwriting #justwrite #creativewriting


Dust to Dust

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Dust to Dust By Brenda Bellinger This post happens to fall on what would have been my mother’s 86th birthday if she were still with us. She passed away thirteen years ago, yet I often feel her presence. Recently, I was dusting a small antique genie lamp that belonged to her mother, my grandmother. Made of white china, its glaze bears the spiderwebbing of many tiny cracks. Miraculously, the hurricane glass and original brown paper shade, though faded, are both still intact. As I carefully pushed a corner of the dust cloth through the curled handle, I thought of all the times this had been done before. Both my mother and grandmother were fastidious housekeepers. Myself? Not so much. I wonder at what point this lamp will cease to hold its significance. A time will come when…


Hello Jello . . . Prompt #621

Do you like Jello?  Red Jello? Yellow Jello? Green Jello? Never Jello? Jello in a cup? In a bowl? In a mold like aspic? Do you like Jello plain or with fruit in it? Are you a Jello and whipped cream fan? Have you had Strawberry Pretzel Jello? Prompt: Write about Jello. Strawberry Pretzel Jello Ingredients: 2 cups crushed pretzels 3/4 cup butter, melted 3 tablespoons white sugar 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1 cup white sugar 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 2 (3 ounce) packages strawberry flavored Jello 2 cups boiling water 1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries Directions: Preheat oven to 400o Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar; mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl cream…

Guest Bloggers

Create a Hygge Calendar or List

We hear a lot about being grateful, giving thanks, gratitude lists, and silver linings. But what if you just aren’t feeling it? How about creating a hygge calendar? I read about this in a Facebook group. Make a list of things to be mindful about, a way to help get out of the doldrums and into a feeling of calm, care, and positivity. Pay attention to one item each day. Personalize your calendar and use it as advent calendar, or as a way of looking at old things in a new way. Hygge: A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being, regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture. Hygge Advent Calendar ideas, or a list of how to create a feeling of coziness: 1. Light a candle during meals. 2. Chalk a friendly greeting on a sidewalk. 3. Share an uplifting poem or…


Eye Feast

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Eye Feast By Julie Wilder-Sherman How I love the ritual of the famliest day of the year. My favorite month and favorite day. So much planning. So much work. So much expense. All of it welcomed enthusiastically by me. The long folding table is taken out of the garage, locked into balance and steadiness, then cleaned. The fall-themed table cloth scattered with a pattern of dark green, yellow and brown leaves on a tan background with acorns and pinecones around the edges is spread out on the long table. Napkin rings, the only time I use them, encase the small thick linen face towels of red and yellow, placed in the center of each plate which sits upon gold-colored chargers I bought on sale at Kohl’s.  The gravy boat and fancy dishes not used in a…


Revision and laser eye surgery

“Revising is like being an optometrist—always asking, ‘Is it better like this? Or like this?’” —George Saunders, quote from “The Alchemy Required to Finish a Novel,” by Grant Faulkner, Writers Digest, Nov-Dec 2021 “As you work through revisions, you see your story from all angles and you discover things you wouldn’t have ordinarily been able to see. A deep revision can give you the clear vision of laser eye surgery.” —Grant Faulkner #justwrite #amwriting #iamawriter #creative writing

Book Reviews

Bright Dead Things

Dave Seter’s review of “Bright Dead Things” by Ada Limón: In life’s trajectory from childhood story hour to adult happy hour, good storytellers are in demand. While some theories of poetry argue for silencing the “I” of authorship, Ada Limón’s brand of poetry is personal and emotionally honest. If a mere book of poetry can invite the reader into the kitchen for coffee and a story, Limón’s new collection Bright Dead Things does just that. Bright Dead Things explores the duality of joy and suffering. The phrase “bright dead things” comes from the collection’s poem “I Remember the Carrots.” Limón writes: “When I was a kid, I was excited about carrots, / their spidery neon tops in the garden’s plot.” The child, wanting to possess this beauty, rips out the immature crop and is scolded by her father. The poem expresses regret but also resistance to a life of passivity. Right out of…


Circles of Life . . . Circles of Death

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Circles of Life . . . Circles of Death by Peter Perez Just as the sun circles the globe each day, and the moon circles the globe each month, so do we follow the paths and orbits of our lives, crossing and intersecting the family, friends and events that crossroad our voyage. It is the choices that we make at those crossroads that put us on our journey and lead us to the next adventure. To be willing to accept your instincts is what keeps life fresh and exciting. And as one explores life, so must we be prepared for the next adventure . . . death. Our ancestors believed that death was the purpose of life and the beginning of the next evolution of spirit . . . in another dimension. Embracing Death gives more…